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March 12, 2008

Work-Life Managers on Staff

A news feed from Google caught my eye – “Medical School Hires Work-Life Manager.” Interesting, don’t you think?  I have always thought that the some of the best nursing managers I have had in the past are those who recognize that their employees cope with the daily struggle of trying to balance the demands of work and home. It’s not easy, is it?

The truth is that workers do bring their personal lives to work with them. How often do we  have conversations about our kids, soccer games, homework assignments, etc. at work? Organizations that ignore this fact are probably risking poorer performance, stressed-out employees, and the loss of an opportunity to fully capitalize and enhance on the skills and expertise of workers.

However, I do have to ask, at those workplaces offering work-life managers and similar support systems, if a perception exists that those who use these services are less "serious" about their work? In some places, employees who use flexible work policies, employee assistance programs, and/or childcare and eldercare supports, are sometimes labeled as "slackers" or “weaklings.” I would suspect that by not supporting workers with personal/family commitments, managers lose in the long run, employees lose, and therefore the company loses as well.

I’ve never used any sort of work-life support systems at my workplace. I don’t even know if they  exist! But, it is an idea that may be of benefit to all of us, taking into account over 110,000 of us are going to retire in 4 years! So, why not implement Work-Life Managers to ease the current stressors at work and at home?

Does anyone work in a facility that offers these services? If so, please tell us about it.

March 12, 2008 in Beka | Permalink


As a nurse manager I have to say that I do care about their struggle with work life balance (as I too struggle more than they can ever understand). I however do not feel that their patients care about their struggles. In the public areas and in patient rooms the struggle should not be apparent. If they are struggling I make sure that I remove them from a public place and have a conversation with them where they can expound on that struggle and offer whatever support I can. But I do not excuse their poor performance or poor patient interactions. I hold them accoutable for a professional performance.

Posted by: cheryl | Mar 23, 2008 8:08:16 PM

Even in a hospital that works very hard to provide support for work/life balance, if a particular manager/supervisor does not model that or does not allow or promote that among his/her staff, it will not work. Nurses need to feel supported in their jobs and nurse managers need to remember being "in the trenches".

Posted by: Beverly | Mar 23, 2008 8:59:26 AM

Thinking about Beverly's post - the benefits certainly help maintain and retain nurses...

I don't think all nurses today can truly say that they "love thier jobs." May be I'm wrong???

Any thoughts about that??

Some nurse life coach websites:



I do wonder who needs more life coaching - staff nurses or nursing administrators? Would it change certain behaviors and improve relations between the two?

Posted by: beka | Mar 20, 2008 5:20:34 PM

I work at a large Cancer Hospital in Houston as a Research Nurse Supervisor. We have intstitutional Work-Life support for everyone in the hospital- first, we have 30 dollars a month supplement for every employee (for gym memberships or whatever you want). Our center is opening a new gym this year. We have regular speakers and forums on personal financial growth, raising your kids, making wills, dressing for success- it goes on and on. Also, our team works 9/80 work weeks. Every other Friday off is fabulous. Granted- when it is your turn to work on Friday, better be ready to go, but knowing you have a 3 day weekend the next week motivates you! AS a supervisor, I have seen this one thing improve our retention of nurses to the point that almost every person in my group of 15 nurses is a Senior Nurse. The backup that they provide one another makes my job easier too. Any time upper management even hints at whether we should continue the flex time- I run in with both barrels loaded. I love my job and my team and giving them an opportunity to be with their families and supporting one another in difficult times is part of what we do.

Posted by: Beverly | Mar 19, 2008 9:15:36 AM

I have often thought that a work/life manager just s-c-r-e-a-m-s that we are all too darn busy. Sad, because some of us, who thought we were going to "have it all," got the ulcers, and premature grays too!

Posted by: Elizabeth | Mar 18, 2008 7:32:56 PM

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